While my peers are scrambling for Miu Miu, Prada, Gucci and the "finer things" from designers of the western world, I can only pray for my pocket money to grow wings so that I can afford to buy clothes from my favorite Nigerian designers. This keenness stemmed from an article I previously shared about the "foreign is better" attitude of Nigerians and why we need to start supporting our own creatives. It is to this end that I started #FridayFeature, a series where I share one Nigerian designer per week on my Instagram page.
It seems like someone else was equally thinking about putting Nigerian Fashion in the spotlight because this lady, Omoyemi Akerele founded Lagos Fashion and Design Week (LFDW). She also owns Stylehouse Files, was "listed for 2 consecutive years on the Business of Fashion 500 outstanding people shaping the global fashion industry, 2014 AFI nominee for Oustanding Contribution to African Fashion..." - @tiffanyamberng
LFDW was sponsored by Guarantee Trust Bank (GTBank), a huge bank in Nigeria and this goes to show that Nigeria is fast moving past the days of emphasis on solely academics - Math and Science school competitions. I like that my country is slowly embracing creativity and creating outlets for its creatives, an effort that should increase exponentially in years to come.
On the flip side, many waited for this as an opportunity to pull down the country. One of such articles was surprisingly published on the BOF website with an attention-seeking headline and a body that made no mention of the designers or the many silhouettes and shapes that graced the runway. (Google "Despite Ebola Stigma and Security Woes, Nigeria Pushes Forward" as I shall not link such an abashing article to my blog).
Regardless, we made it. My only concern was that it would clash with MBFW Africa, which was scheduled for the same week. But it all worked out. Designers were able to attend both shows.
There was clearly a lot of effort put to organize and publicize this event and I have to give it to them that it was amazing! I got real-time updates from various media outlets put in place by the sponsors - GTBank, NdaniTV, GTCreate and independent publicists like my StyleMeAfrica family. As I type this, GTBank just posted a link to the show by Ndani TV. For show tickets, an online ticketing system was utilized, signalling immense growth.
I was ecstatic when I saw the designer lineup. A great majority of the designers I had shared during #FridayFeature and others that I had taken personal interest in were going to showcase. I'll share a few, starting with those I've known, admired or stalked - Orange Culture, April by Kunbi, Maiatafoinspired, Tiffany Amber, Lanre Da Silva Ajayi (LDA Couture), McMeka, IamIsigo, Ejiro Amos Tafiri and Maki Oh.
One thing I can tell you about this brand is that Adebayo Oke-Lawal totally understands the complexity of the modern man and the desire to be unconventional. I fell in love with this brand when I read up on his Spring/Summer '14 Collection, DOVETAIL, which was inspired by "uneven and unleveled staircases in Lagos, Nigeria". His LFDW collection was nothing less than head-to-toe perfection.
The clothes fit perfectly while the fabrics sat loosely on the models, ebbing and flowing as they moved. And they (the models) moved!
Orange Culture pays an unparalleled amount of attention to details for that modern twist. The shoes were all made in Nigeria and you can pre-order any item from this collection by emailing email@example.com
Mai Atafo Inspired (now Mai Atafo)
Certainly not a newbie to the African Fashion scene, Mai Atafo has made many a dreams come true. From dressing celebrities to grooms and their groomsmen, Mai Atafo embodies the touch of eccentricity mixed with endless class. I knew Maiatafoinspired for its menswear brand but when I saw his take on women's wear...
The attention to everything, from those African talking-drum-inspired bags to the scarves wrapped around the ankle to amp up the shoes, made this a collection to marvel at. He knows how to close a show. At MBFWAfrica, he did this. At LFDW, he made it even better...
Mind you, I had seen this collection when it launched but when SMA opened this wound that was the lack of a White Noise piece in my closet, I became bent on having at least one. I hunted down some at GreyVelvetStoresLagos and ASOS Marketplace. Unfortunately, I cannot afford anything from this collection at the moment and I'm sad they will sell out soon. But this LFDW gave me hope to expect more awesomeness from IamIsigo in the near future. It is owned by Bubu Ogisi. ISIGO - get it? So brilliant!
When Michelle Obama invites a designer to the "Celebration of Design" at the White House, you know the designer is truly set for greatness. I'm thankful that I recently discovered this brand when StyleMeAfrica featured the entire SS15 Collection inspired by a "virgin". You really need to see the intro video. It was so lovely to see my favorite design come to life (far left).
If I had a man, I would dress him in McMeka. He understands everything! Cut (clean), color, texture, print.
1. Ejiro Amos Tafiri
The launch of the 2015 Luxury Resort "The Madam" Collection by this brand showed me what pure opulence should look like.
2. April by Kunbi
She is a leading bridal designer in Lagos and I've seen her brides. Simply put, no two brides wear the same April by Kunbi dress. She also does a great job of making ready-to-wear pieces, something I'd like to see other designers doing more.
Sometimes, my eyes hurt at some color combinations, especially metallics. But this collection was electric yet soothing. I was totally blown away that it was inspired by rocks.
It was such a beautiful sight to behold and I love the gradual decline in hues.
4. Tiffany Amber
Recently celebrated its 15 year anniversary. Definitely not a newbie/JJC (Johnny Just Come). My best part of Tiffany Amber's 15th Anniversary celebration was that it introduced Women of Vision 2014 to celebrate 15 women who have made a mark in their respective fields. What a way to turn 15! And this...
5. Iconic Invanity
This was certainly iconic. I can't offer a better description.
6. Ituen Basi
Mathematics meets Runway with these pieces.
Seeing a collection by my high school senior on the runway gave me hope that my tuition back then was not in vain.
10. Ella and Gabby
11. Weizdurhm Franklyn
12. Sunny Rose
13. Adebanke Olopade
14. Pablo Sisiano
At the end, GTBank posted this collage of all the designers who presented at the show. I'm still in awe. Well done, everyone.
Message to the rest of the world:
Like a stealthy creature, we're rising, throwing corruption and other deterrents in the way to cloud your vision. When the fog clears, you'll be amazed.